tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 13, 2010 1:00pm-3:00pm EDT
times square, ali. and now we are see that the fbi, as a result of its ongoing investigation, and the fact that the main suspect in this case, faisal shahzad, is still talking, they've now conducted raids in three different states. in massachusetts, in new jersey, and in new york. so i know we have team coverage here. we'll try not to step on each other but we can tell you is this, is that two of the locations are in massachusetts. we got two separate locations in southern new jersey. one at a print shop, one at a private home believed to be connected to the print shop. one is in camden, and one is in cherry hill, new jersey. and then we have at least one -- rather two locations on eastern long island. and so we know that the fbi has conducted searches there as well. we can also tell you that three people are in custody, on immigration charges. two of those three are said to be pakistan. and are said to be collaterally related to this investigation. they may not have had direct
knowledge, in other words, of the bomb plot itself but are being looked at in connection with the case. now, we have additional resources, as you said, in other parts of the state. massachusetts, they're looking into these -- this connection as well. and other locations as well. ali, that's what we have now. it just goes to show you that the suspect is still talking. they are still getting evidence as a result of this investigation, so it's far from over because, as you know, they are looking into who put this together. was he indeed working by himself and where did the money come from. >> we're going to continue to dig into this. susan, stay there. we'll come back to you. let's go talk talk to drew griffin about this. you're working another angle of this story. tell us what you know. >> it's all about the cash, ali. our sorurces say this is potentially the cash couriers. whatever shahzad is saying led to he's raids today. what our sources is saying this has to do with cash couriers,
people who bring money into the u.s. to finance operations like the one faisal shahzad is accuse of trying to carry out in times square. that is why, you know, we're getting cautionary talk about there's really no danger. they're talking about the money. what finances it, how they get the money, how the guy got tickets to the country, bias car, all this kind of stuff. apparently whatever this guy continues to say that is expanding this investigation. faisal shahzad still has not had a hearing in court. that is, by his own, you know, want. he's waived the hearing. >> that's strange though, drew. it is strange they he has agreed to talk, that he continues to talk. i guess the confusion that some people may have is that shortly after this terror plot was exposed, the department of justice said that they felt that this was backed or tied to the pakistani taliban. but obviously there are many -- if that's true, there are many links between the guy who was
driving the truck into tapes square and whoever is pulling the strings at the pakistani tall been. i assume that the round-ups are designed to find the linkages between. >> the link may be as often is the case with terrorism and with organized crime, the money. the pakistan taliban as we heard from reza yesterday from pakistan have no money. they don't have any money to finance things. obviously faisal shahzad who quit his job last year, whose home went into foreclosure, doesn't have any money to finance things. we know from past history that businesses that deal in cash, counterfeiting, other operations do finance some aspects of terrorism, as do illegal drug trafficking. have no idea that any of that is involved here, but what we do know is this part of investigation is focusing on the cash. >> right. which is why as far as we know so far, this is very fluid information. we're getting information in on an on going basis and is typical in a case like this system of it is conflicting. those people who have been
arrested have been charged with immigration issues, this -- they're not charged with terrorism at the moment. >> at the end of the day we may find out these people worked at these virtuous accomplishments and have bad paperwork. they may have nothing to do with this. we also know, ali, that two people, two specific people have been under surveillance since yesterday. we have no idea yet if the two -- if the three people arrested are related to the two people under surveillance. >> could be, could be two different people with we'll keep on working this. i you now will and susan will. jim acosta is in watertown, massachusetts, outside of boston, the site of one of the raids. what can you tell us, jim? >> reporter: ali, i can tell you there was a commotion here earlier h morning. neighbors were startled almost right out of their beds when they heard the fbi and customs and immigration enforcement agents come to this home here behind me here in watertown, massachusetts, outside of boston. we have video that we want to show you. one of the neighbors a heard the
commotion this morning during this arrest pulled out her digital camera. barbara lasara and she started taking images of one of these suspects being placed in a vehicle by fbi agents. and we're told that two men were brought out of this house atn't about 6:00 this morning, according to the neighbors here, nobody even really knew that these guys were living in this home behind me. there are a couple of neighbors who maybe seen them once or twice but what we're told by neighbors is that this house is sort of used time to time from renters who sort of move into the area for six months to a year and then they move out of the area. so these two suspects if we can call them that at this point, we're not even that well-known to these neighbors. but one very enterprising resident across the street from the house in question got her digital camera out and started capturing so of these images that we're showing you now of one of these suspects. and all of this was over in a matter of minutes. they ushed the suspects out
quickly and then the fbi agents and customs enforcement agents who were on the scene started going through the house behind me, started bringing out boxes, bags of evidence from inside the house and then processing that evidence inside a truck one of those mobile processing trucks that they have at these scenes all the time. that is still going on right now. but besides that, not a whole lot happening at this location in terms of the activity of this scene of the neighbors and media and that sort of thing descending on the scene. across town, also outside of boston, in brook line, massachusetts, fbi agents also conducted a search at a gas station that is just right you side of boston. apparently this also happened this morning, that area has also been taped off by authorities. there's also residents and media gathered outside the scene. we tried to talk to the owner of that gas station. oddly enough, cnn interviewed
him several months ago about a gas price story, and he had very little to say. he actually had nothing to say to reporters except please excuse me and that sort of thing as he was leaving the scene. and also very little from authorities there as well. but, ali, at least at this point, we do have some image of at least one of these suspects that was brought out of this house behind me about six or seven hours ago. >> all right, jim. we will keep you on top of this. if there's any new news from your side, you'll let us know. susan candiotti on this. drew griffin as well. we'll keep you up to speed on what's going on. i want to take a quick break. when we come back, erasing impression from america's history. arizona has gone forward with a ban on ethnic studies. we're going to tell you what that means when i come back. i'm going to weigh in on that issues. education as you know is one of my passions. i've got some things to say in my xyz. whether you agree with me or not, you'll want to hear it.
something's going on in the state of arizona. less than three weeks after pass that immigration law, the governor of that state, governor jan brewer, signed a new law, this one targeting ethnic studies programs in public schools. now, supporters of the law say those classes are divisive, they underscore oppression and treatment that ethnic groups received historically and breed resentment. critics say -- critics of the governor say this is another example of arizona taking aim at latinos. 15 people were arrested during a protest at a tucson school headquarters yesterday. this is -- tucson is the city where this is aimed at. here's a little bit about the law. it's called hb-2281. it bans advance courses that promote the overthrow of the u.s. government.
or that promote resentment toward a race or class of people. now, it also bans courses that are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group or that advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals. what it doesn't ban is it doesn't ban classes for native americans that are required by law or courses that include history of ethnic groups that are open to all students unless the course violates those other rules. complicated. like everything, but goes on in arizona these days. it's complicated. it's not as clear cut as it might seem. let me bring in a couple of guests who can tell us a little bit more about this. dr. augustine romero is the director of student equity at tucson unified school district. he's live in tucson. margaret dug again is the arizona deputy superintendent of public instruction. he's joining me live from phoenix. mar get, let me start with you. thank you for being with us today. give me some sense for our viewers who are not understanding why this sort of law would be necessary, this
sort of ban would be necessary, what it aims to do. >> well, first of all, it aims to make sure that our students are not segregated into classrooms where they are taught that they are oppressed and victims of classrooms, that teach, that they are oppressed and victims of teachings in our school systems and making sure that the public school systems are not teaching history or solidarity of certain ethnic group, in which we believe that the tucson unified school district has been doing for some time. >> there's something underlying this. scratch away from the surface and there's clearly a problem that is trying to be solved here. what's the issue? do you think the tucson school district has somehow been promoting? one of the bans here is -- is banning the the overthrow of the united states government, banning courses to promote the overthrow of the united states government. have they been teemping courses in tucson about that? >> there is ethnic studies which
uses curriculum and books, textbooks that there's, to me, very disturbing information. for example, one of the books they use is called "occupied america" which teaches the students that this country was once mexico and if they rise up and take it back to be their country, once again, and most of these students were born in this country and they should be taut this this country is a country that advances them to be productive citizens of this country and not to rise up and be disloyal to this country. and this is what i think this course is teaching them, that they are victims and that they are oppressed. this is what is very disturbing to me, that as public school administrator that i was for ten years and in the public school system, why are we having this type of curriculum being taught to our students. >> let's talk to dr. augustine
romero of the school district if what do you say about that? >> let me first start by trying to establish the political terrain. the nation needs to understand that the political discourse within this law is based upon a racist witch hunt that has been used for political gain. start right there. the next thing is this legislation is based upon lies, untruth and lies. the reality of the situation is what we teach in those courses is the state standards. two of those state standards we apply a mexican-american lens, a historical lens from the mexican-american perspective on those events. for instance, look at world war ii. what was the mexican-american contribution to end world war ii. the normal textbooks don't really address that understanding. so we supplement that understanding. the other understanding is for instance the history of the constitution, the history of constitution allow, the idea
that when we talk about brown versus board of education, does the nation understand that the precedent in brown was established by rest minister versus -- mendez versus westminster which is a group of mek-american parents who felt if though they were being denied equal access. is that taught? >> let's go back to margaret. so far nothing that dr. romero is talking about sounds problematic. are you okay with that so far? >> first of all, why can't this all be taught in american history classes with all students? why do our hispanic students primarily have to be se gre gated from all other students in our schools? this is what i find -- >> a reality of the situation -- >> the american history classes in all schools have to teach to our arizona standards. and when you separate the hispanic students. >> our students are not se gre gate sgltd what you do is you segregate by the name
exclusively across the studies. >> we do not segregate. we do not segregate. >> let's an that. can all students attend these classes? >> these class rest open to all students. what i'm telling you right now is that these people are lying. they are lying. flat out lie. we do not segregate. these classes, native american, mexican-american, all open, regardless. it's our attempt to have all children in those courses so they have a better understanding of who their neighbors are. >> i've got to operate this within a time constraint. why do you believe they're segregating students? >> primarily if you look at the roster there are mainly hispanic students in the classrooms and why, if you're teaching to the academic standards of our arizona academic standards of american history, i don't believe you have a balance of really what the american history standards are. you are giving more of a slanted
viewpoint and teaching these kids that they are victims and oppressed in this country. now, i do believe that all students should be given the whole spectrum of american history. and i believe that these teachers, under the direction of augustine romero are given a very biased viewpoint and they are wanting to teach these kids that they are oppressed. very good point they would like to do this. >> dr. romero, are these students getting american history at the arizona standard, plus or are they getting it instead of the standardized instruction in the state of arizona? >> no, as i said before, what we teach in those claeses are the state standards and we apply a cultural lens to these state standards. in fact, the reality of the situation is up until 2006 we had what were called honor standards in the state. what we did is we included all of those honor standards into our curriculum. so not only were they getting the state standards but they
were getting rigorous state standards with the lens applied to the state standards. another thing that must be understood is that tusd is a predominantly latino school district. regardless of what school you go to, the vst majority of those students are going to be latino. so, i mean, the idea that the rosters are majority latino, that's our district. that's our population. that is the default. that happens by default. these class rest not exclusive. >> i'll show our viewers the distribution of the tucson student population. 56% are hispanic, 29% white, 8% african-american, 4% native american, 3% asian. >> that would be my point. why do you have to call the su studies -- >> if they change the name, would that make you happy? >> the course itself is american history but they have slanted it to be called razo studies so they can give their ideology. it's really the viewpoint of director augustine romero.
back in 2000 -- when i took care of english for the children i know he was telling strunts -- >> exmore inclusive. >> when augustine romero was a teacher back he told the students because the students told me that i was falling for the white man's traps when i was pushing for a law to get rid of bili bilingual education. >> that's a lie. that is a flat out lie. >> did you say that, mr. romero? >> that is a flat out lie. >> i believe he did. >> you don't understand. we have to flat out understand the discourse. the discourse in this legislation -- >> the discourse. >> -- mirrors the discourse of nazi germany. all we are trying to do here is create fear -- >> that's a big accusation. margaret dugan, how do you explain that? he's saying it's like nazi germany. >> no, it's not. we're trying to make sure all of our students receive a quality education in arizona not a
distorted view and to teach them not -- >>ive go ivei've got to make yo stop. we're going to continue to cover this. i want to thank you for both of you coming on. this is a hot issue. all i can say to you is that i hope it continues to be discussed and hopefully with maybe a little cooler than it was today. if this is where you need to discuss it, we'll have you back. dr. augustine romero, director at the tucson unified school district. margaret dugan, super intend department of public education. as you can see, that issue is not going to get involved today. let's not forget it was less than a month ago that arizona passed that immigration law deemed by many people to be the huhhest in the nation. that's the state of arizona as you can see. borders mexico. now it's having a ripple effect across the country. lawmakers in at least nine states say they are planning to craft legislation that mirrors that has been passed in arizona. a couple of them are border states. look up in the northeast, utah, texas, oklahoma, pennsylvania, south carolina, maryland, and
ohio. there are some major backlashes though. several cities have either enacted an arizona boycott or they are calling for one. cities like san francisco, austin, washington, d.c., and now the los angeles city council has over whemingly approved a boycott of arizona. that's the biggest city yet to do it. yesterday a resolution was even filed in new york city. so we're talking about millions of dollars possibly being pulled out of arizona. in fact, city estimates from phoenix estimate losses of up to $90 million over the next five years because of this controversy over immigration. we're going to take a break. when we come back, new york's attorney general is looking into whether the big banks misled the credit rating agencies into giving high ratings on risky investments that they shouldn't have. and what role that had in the financial crisis. christine romans following this.
all right. this is yet another confusing element of this financial crisis and who might be at least partially to blame for it. christine romans standing by in new york. she's my cohost on "your $$$$$." she's been investigating charges that are being put forward by the -- are they charges or an investigation into banks? >> it's an investigation. >> tell me what this is about.
>> practices with the banks as they pertain to the credit rating agencies, ali. did they mislead them when they were crafting the financial products that the credit rating agencies then would rate so that the banks could sell them. it sounds complicated. but let me show you the banks. the attorney general andrew cuomo's office looking into these, i think, eight banks overall. morgan sacks. it's pretty fair to say if you work in the legal department of one of the big wall street banks you've been busy recently between the s.e.c., justice department and attorney general now of new york. there's a lot of poking around going into what happened during the bubble. now, this is why credit ratings matter. this is why the credit righting agencies are coming under scrutiny. first of all, the banks would bundle loans and sell these products. the rating agencies would rate the quality of those products. the rating agencies are paid for by the banks.
the banks need the good ratings to then sell their products. and investors buy and sell based on these ratings. so the rating agency -- >> in other words, there might be a bund of mole of mortgages they have rated them as the top risk, aaa rated, low risk, but somehow the conflict here is that the credit rating agencies are getting paid by the banks. >> well, and, ali, we now know that 93 % of the subprime mortgage bundled products were rated aaa. subprime by definition means subprime, that it's not aaa. >> right. >> so we now know that a lot of these products were rated top quality products for investors when they were not containing top quality investments in the first place. so cuomo's office is looking into this. also looking into, we're told, whether there was a revolving door between the mortgage desks of these big banks and the credit rating agencies. so you go just like everything
in wall street and government or wall street and other parts of the system, you go from one place where you design the product to another place where you rate the product. you know. so it's -- it should be very interesting. i will say that this is a very busy time. the humming, humming, humming of the legal departments of all of these companies. >> to you and me as well as we have to help our viewers understand it as well. good to see you. see christine and me every day, monday to friday on this show, and saturdays at 1:00 p.m. eastern and sunday at 3:00 p.m. eastern on "your $$$$$." she's my cohost on that show where we get deeper into those issues. when we come back, let's go back to the gulf of mexico and find out what is going on. bp has already changed its mind about a plan we told you they were going to implement yesterday. we're going to update you on the containment efforts.
in that rupture in the gulf of mexico is still spewing oil into the water. i'm going to update you on the latest efforts. bp says before it moves the top hat, that's the one we told you about that yesterday, the top hat containment dome into lace, over that ruptured well, it is going to try something else. this latest operation, i know this is hard to follow because it changes every day. this one is called a ricer insertion tube. basically they slip a small tube, i don't know how small it is, and a stopper into a leaking well. i'm going to show you that in a second because we're not talking about the cannes film festival.
but they stick the stopper and a tube into the well. if that seals the well off successfully, they will be able to suck the oil flow to a storage tanker on the ocean surfa surface. now, if that doesn't seal successfully, guess what, we're back to the top hat. they put that top hat into place. they haven't actually sealed it off yet. apparently is at the bottom of the ocean. and we'll try this and keep you up to speed with what goes on. we teased with you that we've got the cannes film festival here. it is the 63rd cannes film festival. this is the festival of all festivals. this year though america only has one movie in competition for the famous pamdor. in recent years it's that movie, by the way, that has grabbed a lot of attention. always a lot of attention to grab at canne zerks. let's listen to brooke anderson. >> reporter: the music is thumping, the pa is blaring. that must mean the cannes film
festival is under way. the red carpet was rolled out for the stars of "robin hood" marking the official start of the 63rd edition of the fest ral. costars russell crow and fellow aussie cate blanchett were among the big names who made their way into the famed palle for the world premier. >> what we would ask is liberty, liberty by law. >> don't look for silly green tights and feathered hats in this version of "robin hood." this take goes back to the medieval origin bs of the legend as crowe explained in a news conference earlier in the day. >> we took a very arrogant perspective on this, which i believe you have to if you're going to retell a story that's been told for a thousand years. >> and, hell, we're australians. >> we took the perspective that whatever you think you know about robin hood is a previously understandable mistake. >> cate blanchett got dolled up
for her trip up the red carpet. but she said while shooting the film, her makeup consisted of dirt and water. >> mud, i used a lot of mud, and i usually come down to sit relatively clean and ridley would pick something off the ground and smear it on me. >> "robin hood" is playing out of competition, meaning it's not eligible for the big prize of cannes. the winner will be selected by an international injury headed by director tim burton. 19 titles are in the running. none of them directed by a woman. there are only two women on the nine-person jury. at a news conference, jury men kate beckonsale was asked if that bath thered her. >> we get to be the two girls to the on this. not super frightened of boys. so it doesn't really bother me. i'm just excited to be in such incredible company. >> every newspaper, every television, radio, anybody that will listen to me -- >> among the other films "fair
game" with naomi watson and sean penn with a true story of valley plain. the award will be presented at the end of the festival which runs through may 23rd. reporting from the cannes film festival, i'm brooke anderson. we've got news happening in thailand. there's. tension there. political tension for a long time. now an anti-government leader has been shot and critically wounded in bangkok. we're going to go to dan rivers live in bangkok when we come back.
"globe trekking," unfortunately some days it's not going to be interesting good news, it's going to be interesting bad news. a dissident thai general has been shot. let me take you to thailand for a second. that's not working. let me take you to dan rivers standing by in thailand right now with the latest update. dan, what have you got? >> yeah, ali, this is part of this huge red shirt protest that has crippled the center of bangkok for a month and a half now. the tension has kicked up in gear. this evening within the last few hours one of the hard line red shirt leaders, a guy they call the red commander was shot through the head while he was talking to the media. we don't know who shot him but the army has been deployed this evening to try and lay siege to these red shirt protesters. at the moment we understand he is in a critical condition in hospital. meanwhile, we've been on the streets the last few minutes and there is still a lot of unrest
on the streets. it's mob rule basically and one other protester has been shot in the head and killed. that happened just a few 100 meters from where we were standing. and as i said, this situation is ongoing at the moment. >> dan, we heard about the red shirs. who are the red shirts, what are they looking for? this has been going on for some time. >> yeah, this goes right back to the coup in 2006. it kicked in the prime minister, he came to power on the back of sort of popular reforms that helped the poor. i think he upset a lot of people in the elite established circles here and finally the military stepped in and kicked him out in a coup. ever since his supporters have been trying to find a way for him to come back. and they've coalesced together under this umbrella called the red shirts. they've been getting steadily more and more radical in the last couple of months. they've taken to the streets and
basically occupied downtown bangkok including shopping malls, hotels, and a major park in the center of the city, refusing to go home until they get an election. the government has been trying to be conciliatory, offering an election in november and it looked as if there was a deal in the cards but now things are unraveling quickly. >> dan, tell the us about this general. we're showing pictures of him having been shot in the head. who is he? what was he demanding? what did he represent? >> well, he's major general, a serving major general in the thai army but one who has been consistently alive to thaxin, the prime minister kicked out in the coup. he's a longstanding ally of him and he never accepted the coup. he went off the rails with it and sided with he's red shirts. he's 59 years old. he's been a bit of a kind of media celebrity down at these
protests. he's dressed in combat fatigues and is seen marching around presiding over his cadre of paramilitary guards down there. he said he feared he would be targeted by military. we don't know who shot him, but now, as i say, he's in hospital with a critical head wound. >> dan, keep us posted on this. thank you, dan. looking at a man in uniform being shot, that's always something that is shocking. in fact, nothing moves police officers faster than hearing officer shot over the scanner. philadelphia cops were on a manhunt for a black suspect who they were told shot one of their own. you are going to be shocked to hear who actually pulled the tricker.
that graphic came up because that was not larry king. it's t.i. who is going to be on larry king. let me give you a look at the top stories that we're following here on cnn. the fbi is raiding locations across the northeast in connection with the foiled car bomb found in times square. cnn has learned they're focusing on a system of what they're calling cash couriers. people who bring money into the united states from overseas, though investigators are not determined whether that cash trail was tied to the failed plot that arrested suspect faisal shahzad. still being questioned about. at least three more people have now been detained. in bangkok, thailand, the
leader of antigovernment protests was shot in the head while giving an interview. we were just talking to dan rivers about that. the renegade thai general is one of the red shirt's most radical leaders. they are the opposition. he's in critical condition. political protests in thailand erupted earlier this year. the red shirts and those they represent want former prime minister who was ousted in a bloodless coup back in 2006 put back into power. and president obama visits buffalo new york today continuing his white house to main street tour. buffalo is one of the worst off cities in the nation with nearly 30% of the people living at or below the poverty line. it's also near the site of a 2009 plane crash that killed 50 people. the president is meeting with the victims of those families. we will have live coverage of the president's town hall meeting and speech right here on this show. that's going to happen very soon, actually. about six minutes away is what we're told. listen to this. a white officer shot last month in the city of philadelphia. so-called suspect, a black man
who supposedly ran off and started a huge manhunt. the problem, all of it was complete fiction. here's randi kaye. >> reporter: it was 4:00 in the morning in philadelphia when the radio call came in, cop shot. a white police sergeant said he had been shot by a black man. officers responded in force. and all-out search of the african-american neighborhood in philadelphia's 19th precinct where sergeant robert ralston said it all went down. the sergeant said she came along two black men along the rare rolled track on the morning of april 5th. one ran away, he said. the other pointed a silver revolver at his head. he knocked it away, he said, but it fired anyway and the bullet grazed his left shoulder. he also said he fired one shot but wasn't sure if he struck the suspect. police gave thanks their man had survived. tragedy averted, they said. the white cop described the shooter this way. dark skin, braided hair, and a
tattoo next to his eye. but police never found the black shooter, or anyone match that description. and now more than a month later, we know why. the real story? the two black men the cop said he encountered never existed. philadelphia police commissioner charles ramsey says sergeant ralston made the whole thing up. >> it was clear soon after it took place that this simply was just not true, just the evidence just didn't support the story he was giving. >> reporter: but wait, what about the sergeant's shoulder wound? the commissioner says sergeant ralston actually shot himself. which may be why he said he got off one shot at the suspect. an explanation as to why his gun had been fired. >> a test was run on his shirt. the powder on his shirt matched the same kind of ammunition we use in the department. >> reporter: that's right. the gunpowder on the sergeant's shirt was the same kind his own
weapon used. and there's more. the angle at which the bullet struck him didn't square with his story, either, says the commissioner. we tried to ask sergeant ralston to explain. but outside his home he dodged our cameras and dukcked inside. >> can you tell us why you did that, sir? >> neighbors called the sergeant's action assad statement. >> i can't believe he would do something like that. that's really uncalled for. he -- ever since i've been living here he's been anti-social around this area. >> reporter: what's still unclear is why sergeant ralston, 21-year veteran of the force, would make up such a wild tale. only after hours of interrogation, police said, did he finally admit he shot himself on purpose. the police commissioner says he may have done it for a job transfer or maybe for attention. but that the sergeant didn't give a reason. the police commissioner calls this a, quote, terrible and embarrassing chapter in the department's history. >> the fact that he stated that
two african-americans were involved in this, again, just, i think, inflames tensions in our community, something that we certainly do not need. >> reporter: sergeant ralston has been sus sppended with pay. the commissioner says he will be fired. he was given immunity in exchange for confession but he'll have to pay for the massive manhunt to find his phantom suspects. cops are still adding up the costs. the days of calling sergeant robert ralston a hero and crediting his quick actions for saving his own lifelong gone. randi kaye, cnn, new york. wow, he was given immunity because he testified, so he can't have criminal charges laid against him for shooting himself and blaming someone else. in this case, the person everybody thought was the victim turned out to be a particularly heinous perpetrator. the real victim here is the city of philadelphia itself. particularly the
african-american community which is more than 40% of the city's population. community activists say this incident gives african-americans another reason not to trust philadelphia police, particularly white officers. this is the city that has vug struggled with this. it's a p.r. nightmare and there are plenty of good cops in philadelphia on the force who now have to deal with the fallout from this one. all right. when we come back, we've got a great big i for you today. solar panels on plain paper. solar panels on paper. can you imagine stuff a thing? i'm going to show you all about it when we come back.
live pictures of a company called industrial support incorporated, buffalo, new york, near my hometown of toronto. the president is there. he will be speaking there momentarily. it's part of his white house-to-main street tour, we'll bring you his comments and then he'll be holding a town hall where he'll take questions from the audience, and we'll cover it in its entirety. i want you to take a look at this. i don't know if you can see it in my hand. it's a solar panel, a picture of sole solar panel on paper. here's a bunch of things, i want you to tell me what the three things have in common. our extreme right -- wait a second, that's your left. you've got a solar panel. you've seen what those look like. you have a printer and you have
a stapler. what do the three things have in common? can you imagine being able to print out a solar panel and staple it to the wall? that actually could become a reality. i want to tell you a little bit about this. m.i.t. researchers have created a solar panel that basically can be printed. there's, like, a screen that goes onto paper. it's sort of an organic semiconductor material. by the way, i'm just using it as an example. it will not actually look like this. it's regular paper that you can print. but basically it's little dots. it's still in the research phase. it's not industrialized or commercialized yet, but they are saying they can actually do this. what's the advantage of having solar panels on paper? one problem with solar panels is how expensive they are. they have certainly come down in cost but they're expensive and frankly very big and heavy. can you imagine just a piece of paper with a solar panel on it? it would be lower in weight, it would be lighter in weight, and it would be cheaper to manufacture obviously than solar panels which are particularly expensive. and can you imagine being able
to print it out? talk about easy to produce, being aible to absolutely print it out. it's just one of the many technologies that is being employed to try to get the energy from the sun. this is one i'm waiting for. i have no idea what it will look like. i think it will look like a regular, ordinary piece of paper, but this is my rendition of it for now, a solar panel printed on a piece of paper. these her the fantastic ideas that will change the way we live. you'll probably be able to use it in just a few years. let's go back to buffalo, new york, where the president is getting ready to speak. the teams are assembled. the cameras are there. the audience is there. he's going to speak to this group. it's part of his white house-to-main street tour. this is a company that outsources, it manufactures things, it's sort of the company to which you outsource. it manufactures things for all sorts of american companies. he is going to go there. there's a remarkable story of this company, by the way, it is a company that started, it's called industrial support, incorporated. this was a company that had five employees. it now has over 70 employees.
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all right. president obama, we are waiting for him to take the podium at a company in buffalo, new york, where he's continuing his white house-to-main street tour. it will be followed by a "q" and "a" from the audience. it's a town hall, you've seen the president do those before. we're going to carry that live
and the "q" and "a" we'll be with you. why is he in buffalo? let me tell you a little bit about buffalo, i grew up near there. by the way, wolf blitzer, "the situation room," is from buffalo. let me give you a snapshot of buffalo, it's an older american city, an industrial city, and it's been in decline since the 1970s. just since the year 2000, in fact, the population of buffalo has dropped by 46,000. now, buffalo is an industrial town, as i said. it's a manufacturing center. it's got gm and ford, it's got auto plants. it's also got a lot of industry. it used to have a lot more industry, and as industry and manufacturing jobs have disappeared in the, united states, buffalo, like many cities along that corridor has suffered with it along with that area. and here's the interesting thing, the unemployment rate in buffalo which has long been higher than the national average is actually lower. the national average unemployment rate is 9.7%, buffalo is 8.6%, it peaked over a year ago and has now started to decline. in other words, there are more jobs being created in buffalo.
now, let's talk about the company that president obama is speaking at, industrial support, incorporated. they do metal stamping and metal braising and contract electrical assembly. this is important, because contract electrical assembly means they do it under contract for other companies elsewhere in the united states. so, if a company wants to manufacture some sort of electronic device and they need components for it, they don't make all the components themselves, they outsource it to other companies including companies like industrial support, incorporated, so we think of manufacturing outsourcing as being something that we send to other countries. well, in this case this is a company that's actually a recipient of -- of work from other companies that are manufacturing things. based in buffalo, new york, you can see that right there on lake ontario, right near niagara falls, and as i told you, a lot of the industrial damage in this country has been done around the midwest. interesting company, because it started with five employees. five employees.
and it has expanded now to 70 employees, and that's -- i guess that's part of the message that the president wants to get out there about how to actually create jobs. so, that's our a little snapshot of buffalo and why the president is there. it's an interesting place if you're ever up in the neighborhood, but if you do go to buffalo, make a side trip to my hometown, toronto, just nearby. let's check if the president is there yet. he's not there. let's take a quick break. maybe he'll be there by the time we get back. if he isn't, i'll have something interesting to tell you. medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company, helps cover some of the medical expenses... not paid by medicare part b. that can save you from paying up to thousands of dollars... out of your own pocket.
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okay. take a look, it's a room at a company in buffalo, new york, industrial support, incorporated. the podium is ready for the president of the united states continuing his main -- white house-to-main street tour, that's what we're calling it. he'll be there in a minute, and we'll get back to him. before we do, i want to bring you up to speed on a very important story that we're following. raids across the northeast have been tied to the times square bomb plot. drew griffin is following the lead from here in atlanta. jim acosta is on the scene in massachusetts, where some of these raids and arrests took place. susan candiotti is in new york, jeanne meserve is also on the story. let's start with you, susan. what do you got? >> it's 12 days into the investigation and clearly as a result of the talking going on involving the main suspect in
this days, faisal shahzad, search warrants are being executed in three states, new york, new jersey, and massachusetts, so broadly based, this has to do with a broad look at cash couriers and how money is brought into the united states from overseas. now, from what we understand from a federal law enforcement source, so far they're looking at people who might not have had direct knowledge of this particular plot, but certainly may have broad-based overview of bringing money into the united states -- into the united states. let me tell you what's happening in the three states briefly. we know that in massachusetts there have been search warrants, raids, on two locations. one a house and one a gas station. and we know that the fbi has been paying particular attention to a car that was parked at one of the -- at that gas station, rather. two people were taken into custody in connection with the house. now, in terms of what's going on in long island, we know that there -- the fbi tells us that two locations are also being
searched on long island, and in new jersey, two more locations. one is a private home, and one is a print shop. that private home is located in cherry hill, new jersey, the print shop, in camden, new jersey, so, again, we know that all of this stems from the cooperation that is being given by the suspect in this case, in the failed plot into that attack on times square. ali? >> all right, susan. i know you've been working this nonstop since it happened. you'll continue to do that and just let us know, we'll put you back on here and we'll bring our viewers up to speed on your side of this thing. we've also got drew griffin who is working another angle of this story. tell us what you got? >> it's very interesting, the fact that we've been working nonstop is because the fbi, the joint terrorism task force -- >> right. >> -- has been working nonstop and this guy, faisal shahzad, will not shut up. he's not had a hearing. he's waived his right to his first appearance in court. as far as we can tell, he doesn't have a lawyer, and as long as he continues to talk and
give information, he will not have a hearing. >> we understand he was read his miranda rights. >> he was. >> he was offered the right to legal representation. any clue why he doesn't want a lawyer and continues to talk? >> apparently they've kept him in to keep talking. and like susan reported, this is all based on the cash courier system which is what we're being told that finances efforts like this guy tried to pull off in times square. again, not saying it's related. the only information that i have that can add to what susan is two people we know have been under surveillance -- >> right. >> -- since wednesday, since yesterday. we're not yet sure if the three people under arrest are those same two people. so, we may be looking for two more people out there, or they may be in custody. we're just not sure. >> we don't know if the three in custody are -- >> right. so far we're only told it is immigration matters. >> let's discuss this for a second. i know there's so much information coming in to you and jim and jeanne and susan. but let's try to understand the cash courier scheme for a
second. the idea is if i asked you to commit a terror offense and give you a check to it, they'll be able to find you, and once they get you they'll be able to find me and it's all clean. the cash courier system is a way to finance, get money to the guy who needs it, through -- by disbursing it, getting it through places hard to track. >> it's a criminal enterprise. it's done in drug money, it's done in all kinds of things, counterfeiting of cigarettes and tax stamps, everything you can name. the niche is where terrorism comes in. >> right. >> this is also how many terrorists are funded. >> right. >> they're funded through drug money and poppies being raised in afghanistan. the money flows back and forth, it's the way of cleaning money out of cash businesses. let's say that this gas station dealt with cigarettes or dealt with some kind of cash, now they've got cash. they don't want to put it in a bank. they don't deal in banks. they're moving the money back and forth and it goes back to a terrorist organization. some of it flows back in, and it's used to finance operations and lifestyles. >> just so we're clear, just because it's a cash courier
system, it doesn't necessarily it's financing money from overseas, it could be somebody locally financing things. the idea is it's unrecorded money. >> the only thing is we've been specifically told by our source close to the investigation that it's a cash courier system. now, when you're dealing with a cash courier, that usually means you're flying in or out of the country. otherwise it's washing cash in a business. >> the other thing i want to clear up. we know we have three arrests and we've been told that those arrests are on immigration matters. >> that's right. >> that doesn't sound like the same thing as terrorism. >> no, it's not. and it could be just -- you know, quite honestly, let's be quite factual, we don't know if they're related, all right? and anything that we would say about that would be speculation at this time. they may be -- it may be an easy way to pick these guys up. get them talking. >> right. >> and then decide if they are involved or not. shahzad has clearly led these people -- led the fbi and the authorities to these locations. we don't know if he's led them to these directly to these people. >> okay. so, you have been, again, like susan, you've been covering this
since the night it happened. right after that, soon after that, the attorney general of the united states came out and said this was linked to or backed by the pakistani taliban. tell me about that versus what we know today. >> you know, and it's gone back and forth. you have to understand what the pakistani taliban is. reza sayah who is in pakistan, our correspondent there, said it's a ragtag group. they like to take credit for a lot of things, that's because they so far have not been successful in just about anything. they don't have a lot of money. they're not well organized. they're nowhere near the status as al qaeda, and they kind of get off, you might say, on the fact that they're being even talked about here on cnn right now. >> right, right. >> it gives them some kind of stature. do they have the ability to finance an operation like faisal shahzad? well, it was a pretty, you know, quite frankly a garbage operation. >> a bare bones operation, a used car. >> a couple grand and you're in, if you can talk somebody in to
doing something, it's silly, pretty much you can do that. but the question is the pakistan taliban really an entity that we have to deal with on the level of al qaeda? >> unclear. >> maybe, maybe not. unclear. >> you're on it. our whole team is on it. drew griffin. thank you. we're staying on top of it. and we're also staying on top of the president about to speak in buffalo, new york, part of his white house-to-main street tour. buffalo, you know, one of the highest poverty rates. we'll address that, too. there's the picture. . they have 35% of your daily value. oh, samples. mmm. fiber one. cardboard no. delicious yes. i just want fewer pills
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okay. i'm continuing to show you this, because the president is -- is running a little late. he's supposed to be giving a town hall -- a speech and then a town hall meeting at this company, industrial manufacturer, in buffalo, new york, we're staying on top of that. meantime, the other big story we're following, i was just talking to susan candiotti and drew griffin about that, is the terror plot and the developments there. there's some major, major developments today, the arrest of three people in -- in -- in several different places. different raids going on where we're trying to find out whether they've got some connection to this times square plot. let me just remind you of what happened in times square. let's take you back to may 1st, 6:30 p.m., street venders alerted the new york police department to a smoking suv. smoke was actually coming out of the inside of an suv. it ended up being a nissan pathfinder, a green nissan pathfinder, and about 11:40 -- let me just take you back to may 1st. then may 2nd at about 2:20 a.m.,
michael bloomberg, the mayor of new york, and police described the contents of the bomb, they called it potentially lethal but it was amateurish, there were fireworks and propane tanks in the car. 50-gallon gas containers and a battery-operated clock and a gun locker-type of metal box. on may 3rd at 11:45 p.m., would now we're two days away from this, the federal authorities ordered a plane that was bound from new york's jfk, an emirates airline plane, it was going from jfk to dubai, they ord it stopped before it took off. came back to the gate and they arrested faisal shahzad, who was a naturalized american citizen. so, this is two days after this happened. now, on may 4th, early in the morning, so this is just hours after he was arrested, fbi and local police executed a search warrant at shahzad's last residence, which was in bridgeport, connecticut. later that same day, he was charged in federal court with five charges, including attempting to use a weapon of
mass destruction, acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, use of a destructive device in connection with criminal violence, transporting and receiving explosives and damaging and destroying property by means of fire. next day, may 5th, the feds say that shahzad has been cooperative giving them lots of details, and as we just heard from drew griffin, he was read his rights, offered an attorney, chose not to take one -- take an attorney and continued to talk to police, which is what we believe may have led to today's raids and arrests. on may 6th, a high-level u.s. and pakistani investigators interrogate shahzad's father, who was in pakistan, and four people linked to a militant group there are also investigated. on may 9th, attorney general, eric holder, publicly says what we had been hearing from -- from law enforcement sources, that in -- that an investigation into this indicated that faisal shahzad, charged with this crime, was working in cooperation with the pakistani taliban.
now, we are unsure about anything more with that relationship. today what we saw were raids in boston, in new york, in new jersey. and that's what we continue to follow for you. so, we will continue to bring you up to speed on what the developments are, who these people are who have been arrested. we don't know. drew griffin did tell us two people have been under surveillance. we don't know whether those two are part of the three who were arrested today. so, we'll stay on that story. we've got full team coverage on it. we're also watching the president. he's about to speak, or so we've been told, in buffalo, new york, right there, at that manufacturing company. after he speaks, he will make a speech, and then he will discuss -- he'll take questions. it's a town hall meeting. buffalo, new york, is where that's taking place. we're going to take a break. we'll be back to you in a moment. just got better. even better nutrition -- high in vitamins d, e, and b12. a good source of vitamin a and b2. plus omega 3's. and, 25% less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. but there's one important ingredient that hasn't changed:
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looking at live pictures of a manufacturing facility in buffalo, new york, where the president as part of his white house-to-main street tour is going to be speaking in just a few moments. he'll be speaking, and then he'll be hosting a town hall where he'll be taking questions from about the 200 people that are assembled there. the factory employs about 70 people. it's a company that started with just five people, builds electronics for other companies in the u.s. that are manufacturing devices. so, we're keeping an eye on that. we'll bring you to that very, very shortly. let me first bring you up to speed on some of the top stories we've been following here on cnn, and this one we've been following this whole afternoon. the fbi is raiding locations across the northeast in connection with the spoiled car bomb that was found in times square. cnn has learned that they're focusing on a system of cash couriers. people who help deliver money used to finance terror plots, but investigators have not determined whether the cash
trail was actually tied to the failed plot on may 1st. at least three people have now been detained. in bangkok, thailand, anti-government protesters are exploding like never before. just today one demonstrator was killed and a key protest leader was shot in the head and critically wounded while being interviewed by reporters. political protesters in thailand erupted earlier this year, they want the former prime minister ousted in a bloodless coup in 2006 put back into power. and we are also looking for solutions on this show, and one kid has -- one of them at least, he's just 16. but he's cleaning up the planet in a way that you would never expect. here's stephanie elam with tonight's -- with today's "one simple thing." ♪ >> reporter: 16-year-old alex lind likes to go for impact. besides the riggers of a.p. classes and competitive sports, the high school senior has made helping others while also protecting the environment an important part of his schedule. >> when you are throwing out hundreds of thousands of tons of
computers, it all adds up and especially back when everybody was using crt monitors, each one had between four and eight pounds of lead, add it up and it's a lot of lead going into our ground fill and going into our ground water. >> reporter: driven to find creative solutions for his community's problems, alex begin win, western innovations networks were with his peers. >> it takes up a lot of time. you really have to we dedicated to doing something this big. >> i love helping people. i love that that's what we do. >> reporter: working with his hometown of westerly, rhode island, he set up a place to recycle old computers and monitors. >> if we can use it, we'llic it in to refurbish it, and if not, we'll recycle it. >> most of them go to students locally. also we have a separate section of the computers that we refurbish which have gone overseas to community centers. >> reporter: to places in kenya, cameroon, the philippines, mexico, and sri lanka, where the computer center was named after the w.i.n. team.
>> those are awesome parts of our project, i would say, when we found out that there's a place pretty literally halfway across the world that was actually named after our product. >> reporter: but w.i.n. wanted to do more, so they introduced an ordinance to ban the dom dumping of electronics in westerly. >> we got it passed statewide, we can hopefully get it out to the entire nation where there are systems in place to properly dispose of electronics, just like aluminum, paper, and plastics. >> look at that. >> oh! >> reporter: and alex heads to stanford university in the fall, he says he'll keep solving problems. >> i'll find something new or some other way to make myself active and have a lasting impact, but definitely something like this, maybe not exactly this. >> reporter: stephanie elam, cnn, westerly, rhode island. >> great story. young guy who is -- is trying to solve a problem that he's not even been part of. hope that catches. all right. take a look over my left shoulder -- my right shoulder the way you're looking at me --
we're watching a factory in buffalo, new york, where president obama is about to speak as part of his white house-to-main street tour. he's been doing these around the country. buffalo has one of the country's highest poverty rates. its unemployment rate, by the way, is lower than the national average. this is a city that's faced a lot of challenges because it's been a heavy, heavy manufacturing city, losing jobs since the 1970s. but right now it's got an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average, and president obama is speaking at a company that's actually been doing particularly well. he's not there yet, so we'll take a break. when we come back, if he's there, we'll take you to him.
all right. let's go to the prime -- the president of the united states, he is in buffalo, new york. let's listen in. >> i -- this is a secret i only told dave, but then i thought i should probably tell all of you. i had to go out and try those wings before i came out, so if you see some of the sauce, that's why. and i can vouch for doug's crispy medium.
that's what i had. very nice. outstanding. a couple of acknowledgements i want to make. first of all, buffalo mayor, byron brown is here. where is he? byron, stand up. congresswoman louise slaughter is here. your own congressman from this district, brian higgins, is here. congressman chris lee is here. and i brought one of my outstanding members of my cabinet, who is working hard every day with businesses like this to help grow the economy, karen mills, my small business administrator, is here. please give her a big round of applause.
so, this is my first visit to western new york as president. and so it is just a thrill to be here. i'm glad that it's not snowing. thank you. last sunday, right? you guys still got snow. sheesh. i thought chicago was bad. this is worse. but i'm really thrilled to be here. partly because it gives me a chance to get out of washington. and i've been trying to make a habit of that, about once a week or so, i try to take a trip outside of washington. now, don't get me wrong, washington is a beautiful city. i've got a really nice office. and i live above the store, so the commute is really short. but you've heard of being in the bubble. you know, when you're in washington, sometimes it's just
hard to hear anything else except the clamor of politics. and that clamor can drown out the voices of the american people. so, i'm not going to give a long speech today. i actually want to take some time to take a few questions from you, hear about your concerns, your hopes, what opportunities you see out there. but before i do, i do want to say a few words about the thing that i know is in the front and center of everybody's minds, and that's the state of our economy. now, i don't need to tell all of you that we're still emerging from one of the worst recessions in our history. and it's been tough everywhere. but cities like buffalo have been especially hard hit. even before the most recent downturn began, years before, you were seeing jobs disappear and factories shut their doors.
costs, family expenses, went up, but wages, they flat lined, they didn't go up. and that's tough on families, and that's devastating on communities. so, breaking our economic free fall was job number one when i took office. i want everybody to remember, because sometimes we've got a selective memory here. when i took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. our economy had shrunk, the quarter i came in, 6%. experts of all political stripes were warning of another great depression. that wasn't that long ago. but it's easy to forget just how fragile things are and how scared people were. and so we had to take immediate steps to stop the crisis. and some of those steps weren't particularly popular.
i had just inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from the previous administration, so the last thing i wanted to do was to spend money on a recovery package or help the american auto industry keep its doors open or prevent the collapse of wall street, banks whose irresponsibility had helped cause this crisis. but what i knew was if i didn't act boldly and i didn't act quickly, if we didn't defy the politics of the moment and do what was necessary, we could have risked an even greater disaster. and the other thing we weren't going to do is give in to the partisan posturing in washington. because half the time up there, all everybody's worried about is what do the polls say and making calculations based on what's good for the next election instead of what is good for the next generation. and, frankly, i had one side of the aisle just sit on the sidelines as the crisis unfolded.
and if we had -- if we had taken that position, just thinking about what was good for my politics, millions more americans would have lost their jobs and their businesses and their homes. but, buffalo, i did not run for president to preside over america's decline. i didn't run for president to watch the erosion of the middle-class continue. i ran for president to keep the american dream alive in our time, for our kids and our grandkids and the next generation. so, we met our responsibilities. we did what the moment required. now, i won't stand here and pretend that we've climbed all the way out of the hole. there are too many folks right here in buffalo and all across the country who are still hurting. i read too many letters each night from folks who are still hurting. they're still out of work. so, i know things are still tough out there for a lot of folks. and, you know, economists have
all kinds of fancy formulas and mathematical equations to measure the exact moment when the recession ended, and it's great that the stock market's bounced back, but if you're still looking for a job out there, it's still a recession. if you can't pay your bills or your mortgage, it's still a recession, no matter what the economists say. it's not a real recovery until people feel it in their own lives, until americans who want work can find it, until families can afford to pay their bills and send their kids to college. so, that's what we're working for. that's our goal. but i want to just say to buffalo -- i want to say to all of you and i want to say to america -- we can say beyond a shadow of doubt, today we are headed in the right direction. we are headed in the right direction. all those tough steps we took, they're working.
despite all the naysayers who were predicting failure a year ago, our economy's growing again. last month we had the strongest job growth that we had seen in years. and, by the way, almost all of it was in the private sector, and a bunch of it was manufacturing. so, this month was better than last month. next month's going to be stronger than last -- than this month, and next year's going to be better than this year. last month we gained 290,000 jobs. that was the largest increase in four years. we've now gained jobs four months in a row right here in the united states. last month brought the largest increase in manufacturing employment since 1998. strongest growth of manufacturing in 12 years. that's a good sign for companies
like this one. i was talking to dave. dave was telling me about the rebound in orders that we've seen here, right here at this company. the question is now, how do we keep that momentum going? how do we keep adding more and more jobs? we know that the government has to play a role in meeting this goal. but we also know that role is limited. government is not the true engine of job creation and economic growth in this country. businesses are, especially small businesses like this one. so, america's small business owners, people like dave sullivan, have always been the backbone of america's economy. these entrepreneurial pioneers, they embody the spirit of possibility. tireless work ethic, simple hope for something better that lies at the heart of the american idea. these are the men and women willing to take a chance on their dream. they've got good ideas, and then
they've got the drive to followthrough. they've started mom-and-pop stores, and they've got garages that they open up and they start tinkering and suddenly that leads to some of america's biggest and most successful businesses. ordinary americans with a dream to start their own business, they create most of the jobs that keep our workers employed. in fact, over the past decade and a half, america's small businesses have created 65% of all new jobs in this country. now, the problem is, is that our small businesses have always been some of the hardest hit by this recession. from the middle of 2007 through the end of 2008, small businesses lost 2.4 million jobs. and because banks shrunk from -- from lending in the midst of the financial crisis, it's been difficult for entrepreneurs to take out the loans that they need to start a business, and for those who do own a small
business, it's difficult to finance inventories and make payroll or expand if things are going well. so, government can't create jobs, but it can create the conditions for small businesses to grow and thrive and hire more workers. government can't guarantee a company's success, but it can knock down the barriers that prevent small business owners from getting loans or investing in the future, and that's exactly what we've been doing. when dave wanted to expand this company last year, he received a loan from the small business administration that was part of the recovery act, part of the stimulus. it's a loan that allowed him to pay the bills and purchase new equipment. last fall, he was even able to increase his workforce. and today he feels optimistic that he'll be able to hire more workers in the near future. bill puglisi and his brother rick are also here with us today. where are bill and rick?
where are they? there they are right there. all right. they run -- good to see you guys. they run a small business called imperial textiles, and thanks to the sba loan that they received, they didn't have to lay any workers off last year. in fact, they were able -- they were even able to purchase a new building. is that right? so, today they're starting to look to hire again. you guys can sit down. all across america we've taken steps like these to help companies grow and add jobs. last year we enacted seven tax cuts for america's small businesses. as well as what we call the making work pay tax credit that goes to the vast majority of small business owners. so, so far the recovery act has supported over 63,000 loans to small businesses.
that's more than $26 billion in new lending. more than 1,200 banks and credit unions that had stopped issuing sba loans when the financial crisis hit are lending again today. more than $7.5 billion in federal recovery act contracts are now going to small businesses. right now, a series of additional tax incentives and other steps to promote hiring are going to take effect. because of a bill that i signed into law a few weeks ago, businesses are now eligible for tax cuts for hiring unemployed workers. companies are able to write off more of their investments in new equipment. and as part of health care reform, 4 million small businesses recently received a postcard in their mailbox telling them that they could be eligible for a health care tax cut this year. that's worth maybe tens of thousands of dollars for some companies. and it's going to provide
welcome relief to small business owners who too often have to choose between health care and hiring. when we stopped over at duff's to get our wings, one of the customers there was a woman who was a small business owner. she had a courier service. and i asked her, what is the biggest challenge you got? trying to keep up health care for me and my workers, and she was appreciative that she'll get a 35% tax break on her health care costs this year. and i told her that -- and over the next several years, we're setting up an exchange where she as a small business owner will be able to buy into a big pool that all these members of congress are a part of, so with millions of members, that's going to give her more leverage with the insurance companies. that's going to drive down her costs. she offered me to have some of her wings as a consequence. but i had already put in an order.
so, all these steps have helped. they're going to help. but i believe we've got to do even more to give our small businesses a boost. and maybe the single most important thing we can do right now is to help ensure that credit-worthy small business owners can get the capital that they need. so, in my state of the union address, i called for a $30 billion small business lending fund. that would help increase the flow of credit to small companies that were hit hard by the decline in lending that followed the financial crisis. and last week, i sent congress this legislation, which now includes a new state small business credit initiative, an initiative that will help expand lending for small businesses and manufacturers at a time whenfal states to cut back on vitally important lending programs, and i've asked to work with us to extend and enhance sba programs that have helped small business owners get loans so they can create more jobs. that's our small business
agenda. that's our jobs agenda, empowering small businesses so they can hire. now, i hear a lot of noise from some of our friends out there that say this is nothing more than big government. i want everybody here to understand. i don't understand -- i personally don't think that giving tax cuts to businesses is big government. i don't understand how helping businesses get loans so they can grow and hire more workers is big government. i'm not interested in another debate about big government versus small government. i care about whether government's meeting its responsibilities to the people it represents. now, i want to unleash the great power of our economy so americans who are looking for work can find it. and i'm hopeful that our small business agenda doesn't fall victim to the same partisanship that we've seen over the last year. helping businesses should -- to create jobs should be something that both parties can agree to.
-- founded more than a decade ago, you've done all that's asked of americans who hope to pursue the dream of owning their own business. you can just tell dave's just got a lot of energy. you can tell the guy loves his business. he loves his employees. what he did was, he took a risk on a good idea. then he worked hard for that success. he's met his responsibilities to his employees and to his customers. millions of small business owners and workers across the country have met those same responsibilities. and now it's time that responsibility, that same responsibility, that same success, is rewarded with the opportunity to keep growing, keep hiring. keep contributing to the success of your communities and your country. that's the opportunity that we're providing today. that's the opportunity i will continue to fight for as your president in the weeks and the months ahead. i want everybody here to know,
in buffalo and all across the country, we are on a course that is working. this company makes me want to double down and work even harder. because i'm absolutely confident that if we continue to take responsibility to invest in our future, that our brightest days are still ahead of us. thank you very much, everybody. thank you. thank you! so -- thank you! so, thank you, guys. everybody can have a seat. so, i've got time for a couple questions. yankees fan right here. well, hold on a second. you know, we got a mike so everybody can hear you, even though i can tell he's got a decent voice. introduce yourself, sir. >> frank kapersoso, new york.
>> good to see you. >> good to see you, sir. my question is, during your term of office, will the buffalo see the transit system improve for this country arrive here in buffalo? >> you know, it's a great question, and i know that, you know, the issue of infrastructure and transit, transportation, is big here, but it's big all across the country. the recovery act that we put forward had one of the biggest investments in infrastructure since eisenhower started the interstate highway system. but the backlog of work and projects that need to be done is so big that it's going to be a multiyear process that we've got to embark on. my hope is that democrats and republicans working together are going to be able to find a long-term financing mechanism and that we start investing, not
just in highways but also in mass transit, high-speed rail, and especially along the eastern corridor and, say, where i'm from, chicago, where you've got chicago, detroit, cleveland, st. louis, indianapolis, you know, you've got all these cities that are pretty close by. they're half hour, 45-minute flights, but if you had a high-speed rail system, a lot of people would end up using the rail system instead of flying. it would be more convenient for a lot of folks, and you wouldn't have to take off your shoes. it would be good for businesses, because if we're building infrastructure, that means companies like dave's potentially have new sources of business. it would be good for our environment because one of the things obviously that we have to recognize is, is that no matter what we do, oil prices are going
to be going up over the long term. i mean, year to year, they may vary. sometimes it's four bucks a gallon at the pump, sometimes it drops back down to 2 1/2, you're not always clear what's going on, but the long-term trend is always going up, because countries like china are starting to buy cars and countries like india are starting to buy cars, and so the demand on petroleum and fossil fuels is going to be greater and greater. so, we've got to get a first-class transit system. weigh don't ha we don't have one now. china is building multiple high-speed rail lines all across the country. leaving us behind. but it's not just transit. it's our ports, our airports, you know, our sewer systems, our water systems. we're going to have to figure out how do we make those kind of long-term investments, but do so in a way that doesn't increase our deficit, and that's going to be a challenge, but i think it's
going to be a priority. good question. and the yankees are doing pretty good right now, but, you know, i'm a white sox fan. we're going to come after you. we got started a little slow. all right, i'm going to go boy girl, boy girl here. i want to make sure that folks know i'm fair. okay. hold on a second. let's get the mike. >> thank you very much, mr. president. about a month ago, senator hatch visited buffalo, and it was right after the health care bill was passed, and he called it the europeanization of america, using it as a derogatory term. what do you make of this? >> well, you know, first of all, orrin hatch is a gentleman. he was just visiting with me in the oval office, and i enjoy his company. this is sort of a reporter question, though, isn't it? this is a budding reporter.
there's been a lot of rhetoric floating around on this health care bill, so i'll just explain very simply what's in the bill, and then you can make your own judgments instead of -- instead of sus slapping labels on it. here's what the health care bill does. number one, it's an insurance reform bill, and some of these insurance reforms are starting to take effect this year. so, for example, one of the reforms ensures that all insurance companies have to let you keep your child on your health insurance up until 26 years old. because as a lot of you know, when you leave college, sometimes getting that first job, you may not be able to get health insurance right away. and so we want to be able to make sure that those young people can stay insured until they get a job that has health
insurance. another insurance reform is making sure that insurance companies aren't drop you when you get sick. which is a practice, unfortunately, that happens to a lot of people. another insurance reform is making sure that you don't find yourself after you've gotten sick having hit what's called the lifetime limit, where, heaven forbid, you've got an illness that's really expensive, and you missed the fine print that said at a certain point the insurance companies stop paying, and so you go bankrupt anyway even though you've been paying premiums all these years. so, a big chunk of health care reform is just insurance reform. that's number one. number two is what i mentioned already, which is tax credits to small businesses. so that they can afford to either keep their employees' health insurance or they can
start providing health insurance to employees that don't already have it. and for most small businesses, they're going to get up to 35% tax break on their health insurance bills, and if you talk to small businesses, that's a big deal. number three, for people who don't have health insurance -- and, by the way, the majority of people that don't have health insurance are working people. really poor folks who don't work, they're on medicaid. they already have health insurance. it's working families and middle-class families and a lot of sole proprietors and small business owners who don't have health insurance. so, what we're saying to them is, we are going to set up an exchange, which is basically a marketplace where you can buy your health insurance through this big exchange, and you'll be part of a big pool which gives you better negotiating power with the insurance companies. that will drive down your premiums. and if even with a better rate you still can't afford it, we
are going to give a tax credit to help you afford it. all right? and finally -- now, there are all kinds of other aspects of it in terms of encouraging prevention and funding prevention, but the other big piece of this is we want to work through the medicare and the medicaid system to figure out how do we start controlling costs. because even if you held the insurance companies, you have to insure people with pre-existing conditions and you can't drop people if they're sick, and even if you allow people to buy through the exchange so it drives down their costs, if the underlying costs of health care keep on going up, then our costs are still going to go up. and so we've got to try to encourage the overall health care system to be smarter and use its money more effectively. and i'll just give you one example that probably a lot of you have. have you ever noticed that doctors' offices are the only place where you still have to fill out forms like three, four times in a row?
well, part of it is just because every other part of our economy is computerized. but somehow that's not true in our health care system, so what we want to do, for example, is provide the incentives for hospitals and doctors and so forth to get electronic medical records, and we want to tell the doctors, you know what, instead of us reimbursing you every time you take a test so you end up going to -- because of something wrong, you go to the doctor, you get one test, then he sends you to the specialist, then you get another test, then you go to the hospital, you get a third test. we want to -- we're going to pay you for one test and then e-mail it to everybody else. those are the kinds of things that help to save money over the long term. now, we've got to try a bunch of different things in order for us to save money, but that is our
basic approach. so, here's the bottom line to your question. if you've got health insurance that you're happy with, you're going to keep it. nothing -- you don't have to do anything. the only thing that you're getting is the insurance company can't drop you if, for example, your child turns out, you know, to have a chronic condition. so, it's giving you more security. if you don't have health insurance, we're building off the free market, off the existing system of private employer-based insurance, and we're saying, this is going to give you a chance to get health insurance that's a little bit cheaper. i don't know what that's called. i just think it's a good idea. all right? okay. gentleman here had a -- had a -- had a question. >> i'm going to cheat with a two-part question here. what, if anything, i guess,
other than political talk is being done to illimb nate the alternative minimum tax, and what's the argument, if any, to just completely do away with the irs and have a flat tax that's equitable for everyone? >> the -- for those of you who don't know, the alternative minimum tax is something that was instituted a while ago, and basically what happens is -- the original concept was that people were using all these loopholes, and so some of the wealthiest americans were paying no taxes. and so the idea was, you know what, you get all these deductions, and as long as you're not abusing them for your home or your, you know, your business expenses and what have you, you can take these itemized deductions, but if at a certain point it leaves somebody who is making $1 million a year to pay no taxes at all, that's a problem, so we'll have this
alternative way of calculating your taxes to make sure you at least pay the same thing as your secretary does or your receptionist does, a portion of your taxes. here's the problem. they didn't index it. meaning that they didn't make sure that the amount got adjusted each year so that it would take into account inflation. and so each year what's happened is, as inflation goes up, you know, what, you know, $250,000 today obviously buys -- doesn't buy the same thing as it bought 20 or 30 years ago. and so more and more families, first in the upper middle-class, but starting to creep into the middle-class, are being affected by this alternative minimum tax. to eliminate it, though, would create this huge hole in the budget. so what happens is, each year congress slaps on what's called
a patch to make sure that it doesn't affect too many middle-class people, and so they appropriate $50 billion a year at a time to close the hole. that was, by the way, part of the recovery act this year was $70 billion of the recovery act was just designed to make sure that the amt didn't affect more people. but i think the point you're making is, why aren't we just solving this over the long term. now, that's true for a whole bunch of things in our tax system. and the truth of the matter is, is that we're going to have to spend the next couple of years making some very hard decisions in terms of getting our deficit and our debt under control. it's not going to be any fun. it's not going to be as painful as it will be if we put it off, but it's still going to be a little bit uncomfortable. it's like going through the family budget, you know, you started getting too many things you couldn't afford and then you're going to have to start
making some decisions. we -- what i've done is i've put together a fiscal commission, made up of democrats and republicans, as well as private-sector folks, so we've got some objective people on it. it's chaired by a former senator, alan simpson, and clinton's former chief of staff, erskin bowles and their job is to report back to me and to congress in the next five, six months, to give us a package of solutions to start getting the deficit more effectively under control. one of the things i think is going to be tax reform that they'll recommend. and that should include simplification. and it's got to make sure that it's more fair. the main argument -- the last one i'll make on this. on the fair tax, the main argument that people make against the fair tax is right now we've got a progressive
income tax. i made a lot of money last year because my book sold a lot. and so i wrote a really big check to uncle sam. my rate was higher than somebody who made $40,000 a year. so, we've got a progressive income tax, meaning that the more you make, the higher -- >> all right, interesting conversation the president is having in response to a question about alternative minimum tax, and tax reform. he says he wants tax reform that simplifies and is more fair, but he did say a fair tax is not a progressive tax. he didn't use the word regressive, but that's a very interesting conversation to have. we're going to continue to monitor the president's conversation, i want to get ready, though, for "rick's list." so, let's just take a quick break, we'll keep our eye -- our eyes and ears on the president and we'll be right back. you for a new power chair or scooter at little or no cost to you.
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